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Project Portfolio: Living Wall Turns Heads

December 20, 2012 -  By

The Mission: Create a “living room of intimate space.”

The Winter Garden is a 22,000-sq.-ft. contemplative and restful gallery-type space in a modern and minimalist style combining art, sculpture, water and lots of plants—including a 1,950-sq.-ft. living wall. Rennie Gotell, general manager of Greenery Office Interiors, characterizes the Winter Garden, located in a commercial office building in Calgary, as a “relationship project.”

“We got the job because we knew the right person to help us,” he says. Additionally, the company survived the project’s many delays and difficult installation because of good vendor and contractor relationships.

The project, which took about two years to complete, did not get off to a promising start: “The day 20,000 plants left Florida, we received a call delaying the project for three months,” Gotell recalls. Because the building itself was under construction during the project, three months slid into five months.

Once the company got the green light to bring in the plants, a new problem arose: “It was a logistical nightmare transporting all of this material to the second floor of this brand-new building under construction, with tenants moving in and every trade under the sun present,” Gotell says. There was the added challenge of keeping the contractor, architect and building owner on the same page throughout the project.

Gotell confirms that all the obstacles were definitely worth the result. He notes that it’s a popular place for people to get together to eat lunch, hold an informal meeting or just relax next to the “Zen-like” green wall.

“It makes an incredible statement,” he concludes. “The design of the wall was inspired by an aerial photograph of local agricultural land. The stainless sculptures were designed to look like sheaves of wheat, and they honor historical city leaders. In fact, the Winter Garden was chosen as the first of many locations in the city for its ‘Field of Fame.’”

The Work

1 | Bamboo? Shoot. Custom boxes had to be fabricated to adjust to the oversized planters, but because bamboo does not like to have “wet feet,” the team chose not to subirrigate. To add to the challenges, these planters had to be resealed by the contractor.

2 | By the numbers. More than 200 lirope were installed as underplanting for the black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra); 30,000 lbs. of black polished river rock were added for topdressing.

3 | By the numbers, part two. From street level, the 200 Sanseveria are standing upright, and the 200 Pilea are cascading down.

4 | Space anchor. The 1,950-sq.-ft. living wall houses more than 20,000 plants with more than 20 varieties in two sections that reach 22 ft. in height and 100 ft. in width. It has computerized drip irrigation and a fertilizer injector system.

5 | Sky pilots. To install the living wall, 24-ft. scaffolding was built and a sky lift was included in the proposal. Greenery Office Interiors now has four employees certified to use this piece of equipment. There have been irrigation challenges, so the sky lift is essential for maintenance purposes.


This project garnered a 41st Annual Environmental Improvement Grand Award from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). For more information, visit See the Web Extra section of for more photos of this installation. Based in Calgary, Greenery Office Interiors Ltd. proudly proclaims that it is “keen on green!” It began in 1977 as a one-woman operation, and has since blossomed into a “thriving business that prides itself on providing the best plants and maintenance service.”

Photo: Greenery Office Interiors

LM Staff

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